Although in the last few years Armando Mariño has turned to other topics and interests, his most characteristic work – that which made him known and admired – focused almost exclusively on the stressful relationship between western and non-western cultures, between the “civilized" and the “wild" or the "centre" and the "periphery".
Many of Armando Mariño's watercolours have a direct and explicit language. This work in particular does not require much comment. Black people have always carried on their backs the full weight of material production, both in the old sugar mills of colonial times when they were slaves and in many areas of modern industrial production as workers. Although this situation has been changing favourably little by little, manual rather than intellectual work is still the most frequent employment option for a large part of the black population of Cuba. The other two options have traditionally been music and sport – a situation sarcastically mentioned by Cuban critic Ariel Ribeaux in his magnificent essay Ni músicos ni deportistas.